In 1961, a small group of individuals with recreational marine businesses joined together to form an organization that would represent and promote the marine industry in Broward County. It addressed issues such as the need for development of the New River in Fort Lauderdale and pushed for the city to allocate a small amount of funds for a marketing effort to attract boaters to the area. This organization was incorporated as the Marine Industries Association of Broward County in 1967, but the name was subsequently changed to the Marine Industries Association of South Florida (MIASF) in 1978.
Over the years, this association of marine businesses has grown to over 800 members, and has become well known and well respected in the local community, in Tallahassee and on the national stage in Washington D.C. Our efforts as an advocate on behalf of our members and the recreational marine industry, along with the goal to support and ensure that family recreational boating continues to be a safe and enjoyable sport through emphasis on boater education, boating safety and clean waterways are fully chronicled.
MIASF is a founder and the owner of the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show® - the largest boat show in the world and has engaged Show Management Inc. to promote and manage the show, which is held each fall at six sites - Bahia Mar Resort & Yachting Center, Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center, Hyatt Regency Pier Sixty-Six Resort and Marina, the Fort Lauderdale Grande Hotel & Yacht Club, Hall of Fame Marina and City of Fort Lauderdale's Las Olas Marina. As owner of the Show, MIASF is proud of the significant economic benefit it brings to the region and its importance to the success of many MIASF members.
Among its achievements, the Association boasts several legislative, community, educational, and environmental successes, in addition to being responsible for leading and working on behalf of one of the largest economic engines in the State of Florida – the recreational marine industry. The Association was instrumental in the passage of Florida's first Boater Education Bill, which seeks help develop a new generation of safer, more educated boaters; it was pivotal on the federal level in the repeal of the Luxury Tax and Diesel Fuel Tax, which had severe negative impacts on the marine industry and the many people whose livelihoods depended the business of recreational boating; and the Association has also published the popular Broward Safe Boating Guide annually through funding from the Enhanced Marine Law Enforcement Grant (EMLEG) Program administered by Broward County's Marine Advisory Committee. MIASF continues to produce the Annual Waterway Cleanup started in 1977, organize and underwrite the Plywood Regatta to raise funds for marine education and provide our youth exposure to recreational boating and marine industry careers, and conduct economic impact surveys, in partnership with groups like the Broward Alliance, to collect vital data on South Florida's marine economy.
MIASF was the recipient of the Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce 2007 Business of the Year Award; its Annual Waterway Cleanup has received a Waterfront Center National Clearwater Award for Excellence on the Waterfront; its Navigate Your Career Workforce DVD received a broadcasting Telly Award; and its executive director Frank Herhold was named the City of Fort Lauderdale's Citizen of the Year in 2007.
MIASF relocated to its present headquarters on Andrews Avenue in the heart of the marine community in 1993. It remains the home of the Association and a venue where many members have attended meetings and seminars to help improve their businesses. Additionally, other marine partners, such as the Coastal Conservation Association, Fort Lauderdale Billfish Tournament, Florida Yacht Brokers Association, Fort Lauderdale Mariners Club, United States Superyacht Association and more meet at the MIASF headquarters.